Remarks by Angel Gurría
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 11 June 2017
(As prepared for delivery)
University President Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, University Rector Professor Asher Cohen, University Vice-President Ambassador Yossi Gal, Faculty, Fellow Doctorate Honoraries, Respected Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am deeply honoured to receive this distinction from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an institution with increasing clout and global prestige, which is developing the new talent of Israel, the new leaders and creators of a more caring, inclusive and sustainable world.
I am also touched by the fact that I am receiving this Doctorate from an Israeli University. The accession of Israel to the OECD, six years ago, was an important achievement of my first mandate. I was personally committed to have Israel on board. This Award constitutes a symbol of our enduring friendship, and our shared quest for a more prosperous, resilient and inclusive Israel.
In the past six years, Israel has become a crucial contributor to the OECD’s work. Its expertise in key areas such as water management, “clean-tech”, innovation and entrepreneurship, has become a source of best practices in our Organisation.
We are also working together on “Employment and Skills Strategies in Israel”, focusing on helping disadvantaged groups access labour market opportunities; on complementing GDP figures with indicators of well-being; and sharing the strong conviction that any understanding of progress, be it social or economic, has to be about improving well-being.
Putting human beings at the centre of economic policies has been a constant objective of my professional career. Throughout my more than 45 years as a public servant, from my first very modest jobs at the Mexican petroleum and electricity state companies to my years as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance, and now at the OECD, I have learned the transformative power of policies on human lives; I have valued the need and role of international cooperation to tackle any challenge; the strength of open and plural cultures; and the irreversibility of globalisation and the need to make it work for all. These principles are my guiding stars. These values are my daily GPS. This knowledge inspires my drive to work for a better world.
And I think this inspiration is at least part of what you are recognising here today. And I thank you from my heart.
Dear friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Receiving this recognition is a stimulus to work harder for a more harmonious, inclusive and sustainable globalisation. It is a wonderful feeling which I am sure all the students and teachers of this important institution share and enjoy.
In the words of Marie Curie, "You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end each of us must work for his or her own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful."